Computer Virus Prevention
How to Protect Against Computer
It's an old adage that prevention is the best cure. Rather than wait for a virus to sneak in and
infect your computer, take steps now to protect your computer system from being infected by a computer
What is a Computer Virus?
Put simply, a computer virus is a disruptive computer code, period! It's a small
computer program designed to disrupt your computer operations, spy on you, or even try to hijack the control of
A computer virus almost always replicates (copies) itself and spreads by attaching
itself to other files. That is why many computer viruses come in an email attachment.
Viruses can be made to host a number of harmful things on any computer from disrupting files to crashing networks.
It can even be laying dormant, without you knowing it's there and then attack when least expected, like right in
the middle of downloading a large file or typing a long report.
It can even be made to open at a certain date, sitting like a timebomb until its
time arrives. As you can see it can be annoying at the very least. And very dangerous and costly
But the purpose of this article is not to go into all the different types of
computer viruses. There are so many being made everyday in some dank basement or often someone's living room, by
some dark, ill-intended, or even respectfully-looking characters, out to do a mischief, steal your identity, or
even "rob you blind".
|Take good steps to prevent computer viruses from harming your desktop computer
and your personal data. (Image by Pixabay.com)
Steps to Take for Computer Virus
Fortunately, like with any disease, even if it's an electronic computer disease,
there are some practical steps that you can take now and learn how to protect against computer viruses. Here are
two basic and very important steps.
1. Never open an email
attachment from an unknown person
Many viruses came from unknowingly opening emails with an attachment. This usually
happens when you get an email from an unknown person with an attachment, with an attachment with an
officially-sounding, or otherwise tempting name. Never open e-mail attachments unless you know for sure who it's
from and that it's safe.
Some mail programs will even ask if you trust the attachment and if you’re sure
this you want to do. Your computer software can also scan attachments for viruses. Follow a safe approach - when in
doubt, leave out.
The danger is that when the attachment is opened the virus can attach itself to
your hard drive and damage files. Not only that, it can search your saved e-mail addresses and send itself out to
your friends, business partners and whoever is on the list, masking the message to look like a legitimate one from
you. It will probably have an attachment too and when opened will infect other computers. Likewise, watch for
unusual messages from your friends - they too can catch a virus, which then proceeds sending itself via their
2. Never download music, videos,
images or other files from unknown sites
Many people like to download music, video, games or other programs from different
sites. If it is a site you dealt with before and trust it may be safe, that's fine. But if you’re not sure you can
always run a virus scan on the download before installation. (You will need to check
the anti-virus program that came with your system on procedures).
This security measure is necessary because some downloads may contain
viruses, spyware or
adware – these last two can collect personal information, note your browsing habits and spam your e-mail with
unwanted ads. Some software sites will offer a readme file that shows technical information on the download (if you
like tech talk) as well as contact info.
The reputable sites that offer downloads will test and scan all there software
programs before going online with it. As a last resort you can do an internet search for reviews on that particular
company to see if others got burned.
This may sound scary to some but the fact is in this world anyone who owns a
computer will have to look over there shoulders for hidden attacks when working online. And in particular when
downloading just about any files.
7 Steps to Take to Protect Your Computer Against
That said there are some things should do to prevent viruses from attacking your
computer, before your
catch a virus:
Download the latest virus definition lists
These are files that tell your computer what to scan for, used for your anti-virus
program. Normally all anitvirus programs, including free ones, will have this set up on automatic by default. In
other words, your antivirus program will automatically update these files every day.
Make sure your internet service provider uses antivirus protection
Check to see if your internet service provider has tools to stop viruses before
they can reach your mailbox. This is particularly important if you're using the likes of Outlook Express for your
personal emails. Most internet service providers these days will have antivirus programs set up to protect your
mailbox automatically. Still, extra caution won't go astray.
Back up your computer files and data
Always back-up your computer on CD-R or DVD-R disks or other media in case you
loose some or all your data. This is particularly important for the files you keep in your My Documents or similar
folder. All personal and especially business or professional files should be regularly backed up. It can only take
one nasty computer virus to send down the drain days and weeks of your hard work.
Always scan new computer programs before installing them
You can scan computer software for viruses before installing it. This particularly
applies when you download freeware or shareware from untested sources. Check your antivirus program settings and
select individual files scan options.
Check your security settings
Set your security settings at the highest level. Go to your Control Panel (if
you're using Windows) and click on Security Center to access your security settings.
Check your web browser settings
In Internet Explorer check your browser settings under Safety tab on your toolbar.
In Firefox open Tools and click on Options on display menu, to access different privacy settings.
Check your email settings
How you do this will depend on what online or offline email providers you use.
Each email provider has security and privacy settings - make an effort to find where they are and check them out.
Usually by default those will be set up with a good level of privacy and security. But if you know more and better,
adjust them to suit your desited level of privacy and security.
Make the point of doing the above steps regularly and you will quickly learn how
to protect your computer against viruses. Don't wait until you catch one and start panicking on how to get rid off
it. Practice computer virus prevention as a normal routine and you will find yourself spending more time doing what
you like on your computer, instead of trying to save it from a virus.